Is it me or are kids getting nastier and meaner even younger??? - Mothering Forums
The Childhood Years > Is it me or are kids getting nastier and meaner even younger???
Mylie's Avatar Mylie 07:03 PM 10-01-2012

I always take L to the park after school..We walk and talk about her day and Kindy..Lets her get her wiggles out and we re-connect after being apart all day...The walking path is connected by two parks..The first one is where we start and it has an awesome playground and sand are right by the riverfront..L loves to play there..She is very social and loves to talk and play with other children..She does not hit,play rough ect..Just today this happened twice..Two little girls right about L's age..could of been between 5-8...First little girl was there with her parents and little sis and bro..L said she goes to school with her..L asked her if she wanted to play..child yells NO!! very loud and rudely and stomps away with mom running after her telling her she must act nicely..Little girl loudly tells mom NO and to shut up...L and I started our walk we talked about rudeness ect...L said little girl is very mean to her on the playground and pushes her all the time..Now childs mom heard L say this..And I said just as loudly so child and Mom could hear that SHE had better not ever push L on the playground..That was mean and we never put our hands on other people..It was okay to say no Thanks I don't want to play but no one is ever allowed to touch her...We walk the track..Have a great conversation about Autumn coming ect...Play at the other park for awhile and then head back to the other(my car was at that one) and when we get there another family of 3 children come..L asks the little girl (about 7) if she wants to play..Little girl looks at L and says Get Away from me you little idiot!! Broke L's heart..She cried..And the childs mom never said a word..I called L over and told her to play in the area by me and to stay away from the mean little girl..I was frankly appalled that the child's mother didn't correct her but she didn't:(( L and I had another talk about mean children and why she should find someone else to play with when this happens..Mom of other child hears me talking to L about her Mean child and gathers up her children and walks to the other park...Play in peace for another 20 minutes and a van pulls up and a ton of kids get out..L looks up and I know she wants to ask the little girl to play that is among them.. I just gathered her up and left...I get so tierd of dealing with other peoples kids being nasty all the time...Is it just me or this getting worse??? Can't even go to the parks anymore:(((

mamazee's Avatar mamazee 08:13 PM 10-01-2012
Wow. I had to check to see what phase the moon was in after reading that. I've had some experiences at the park, but nothing like that. Maybe a kid who doesn't want to play, but the second child you encountered, I don't even know what to say about that. I mean, where did that come from?

I hope you do keep playing at the park, and I hope you meet nicer kids. If the girl is bothering your dd at school, you could email the teacher and ask her to keep an eye on it and let you know if they have trouble.
beanma's Avatar beanma 08:26 PM 10-01-2012

I had a child (still have her, actually, but she's not so little any more) who was "shy", for lack of a better word, and did not like to play with strange kids at the park. She is 11 now and she still would not like to talk to kids she doesn't know in public. I could see that at a younger age might have yelled "No" because she felt very threatened when other kids got close, but she would never, ever push another child she didn't know or call them an "idiot" (maybe that girl heard that around her house? or from TV?). My kid would have been more likely to run away and hide. 


I think your child sounds delightful and I think that the way you handled it was fine, but do make sure she knows that some kids (like mine) are shy and not very social and it's not a reflection on her, but on them. The girls you're describing are just rude, but the girl in the van might not have wanted to play either and that doesn't necessarily mean she would be rude or your child would have done anything wrong. Some people like ice cream and some people like pickles. Some kids want to play with everyone at the park, and some kids feel that when strangers approach them it's like their space has been invaded. Neither is wrong, but being rude is.

pek64's Avatar pek64 08:42 PM 10-01-2012
Meaner? At first I thought 'yes'. On second thought, I don't know. Sure, there are rude and nasty children nowadays, but just a few families, in my experience. And when I was growing up, we had one such family in our neighborhood. I'm curious what others think, though.
limabean's Avatar limabean 09:43 PM 10-01-2012

I don't know that there are more mean kids these days. I think it's just that, once we have children, we're more likely to be in places with lots of kids on a regular basis, so we see more children in general, and therefore more mean children too. Also, once it's our kid they're being mean to, we're more likely to notice and take it personally. 


That said, I'm sorry those girls were crummy to your DD at the park. Your DD didn't do anything wrong, but maybe in the future it'd be a good idea for her to observe potential playmates for a little while before asking them to play, rather than asking right when they get to the park. It'll give her a chance to get a sense of their personality, and also they might feel a little caught off guard at being asked so soon. (That obviously doesn't mean it's okay for them to name-call and such.) 


ETA: What a sweet mother-daughter tradition you guys have after school! I bet she'll cherish those memories of walking along and talking with you when she grows up. love.gif

meemee's Avatar meemee 11:33 PM 10-01-2012

i agree. they are not really any more meaner. i think as others pointed out - our awareness on this is higher.


one thing i have found. if left alone these kids figure out pretty easily ways to play with other kids. it seems when i approach and ask kids to play they become suspicious of others. 


i am sorry your dd had that experience. dd has never really had that kind really.


but oh yeah. talk 3rd, 4th, 5th grades and yes girls can be nasty. including the ones who have been together since K. 

serenbat's Avatar serenbat 06:19 AM 10-02-2012

I have two kids with a vast age difference (so it is not that I am now aware- I have been) they ARE meaner (by far!!), nastier (at a much younger age), ruder (and I don't mean the shy ones, I mean the true rude ones and usually the parents are as well ) and the parents are far more aloof (it's hard to get the to even notice if they are around)----IMO


just this past week we even tried a new playground outside of our town and my DH had a conversation with the one parent who commented on exactly this regarding some kids there and how it was her last time she was bringing her DS because of the other kids (her child was young- around 5 and the kids were 7-8ish)-it's will also be our last time at that park too

KCMichigan's Avatar KCMichigan 07:45 AM 10-02-2012

As a few other PP said-- I think our awareness is higher.


Growing up, I recall mean kids and playground outbursts by other children toward myself. I like that I think schools are more anti-bullying than they seemed to be when I was younger. People are thinking of behaviors of other kids/their kids and reacting to decrease it.


Yes, we have had some encounters similar to yours. I talk to my daughters to find new playmates and/or that it is OK if someone does not want to play. We also role play how to politely ask and turn down offers to play. Each school year so far there has been one kiddo in their class that struggles to be polite, hands off, and respectful to others. So out of a group of 100 kids that would be 5-6 kids in that age group.


Plus, ages 5-9 is a time that kids are learning how to interact with other kid and polish social skills. After age 9-- a lot of cattiness may appear. But younger kids may be simply unsure of how how to react to 'new' kids and/or are wound up after school. Also- I would gently consider that possibly some 'awkward' responses to social play may be a child that has special needs or the kiddo could have just had a really bad day. Not that it makes it right or excuses behavior, but different personalities of kids may respond differently to the stress of school/outside influences and/or still developmentally be learning what is/is not appropriate.


We also have had a few experiences with undesirable words (such as idiot) that kid have heard from other kids and/or TV. I have always used it as a springboard for a short talk on respectful behavior and bucket-filling words (words or actions that help someone feel good inside instead of put-downs). 


Some of it may be time of day as well, after school seems to be when a lot of kids are running off steam and also trying out new words/behaviors they see at school. It is sad that the parents of the other kids did not intervene and use those as teachable moments.


OP- keep doing what you are doing. Explain, reinforce positive behavior, and offer alternative play activities (you play with your DD). It is unfortunate that you had two negative responses in a row. Maybe invite a known friend to the park after school- your DD will have a playmate and you will know that DD gets along with that person.

Ragana's Avatar Ragana 08:48 AM 10-02-2012

I don't know. Recalling my neighborhood and elementary school experiences growing up, the kids were plenty mean, and no one really stopped them unless it got physical. Sometimes teachers even said stuff that encouraged picking on certain kids. Where my kids go to school now (different place) bullying and that sort of stuff is handled pretty well, although I have heard that that differs from school to school, even in just our town. We never had serious problems at parks either. I was amazed, though, at how early some "mean girl"-type behavior began when my kids started school.

serenbat's Avatar serenbat 11:23 AM 10-02-2012
As a few other PP said-- I think our awareness is higher.



wish it was the case but I see it so totally differently- parents are far meaner too! Not at all like it use to be so the kids are just following suite-IMO


road rage, the parents at kids sporting events, parents simply not engaged, etc, parents that act like children!..... I see parents just sit and continue to stare at their phone (at playgrounds) and let their kids go at it and they say noting

limabean's Avatar limabean 01:56 PM 10-02-2012
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

wish it was the case but I see it so totally differently- parents are far meaner too! Not at all like it use to be so the kids are just following suite-IMO


road rage, the parents at kids sporting events, parents simply not engaged, etc, parents that act like children!..... I see parents just sit and continue to stare at their phone (at playgrounds) and let their kids go at it and they say noting


I guess it depends on where you live. In my area, parents are policed pretty well at kids' sporting events -- yelling, etc. isn't tolerated. The schools are much more on top of bullying too compared to when I was a kid. And yeah, I see parents on their phones at the park sometimes, but most parents I see are engaged with their kids (or at least available when the kids need them) and are involved (even too involved sometimes) in playground skirmishes. Whereas when I was a kid (in my area, anyway) the parents were nowhere to be seen -- packs of kids just roamed the neighborhood completely unsupervised for hours. 


I dunno, I just think that since the dawn of time, adults talk about "kids these days" and lament the decline of civilization that's occurring with the new generation, so I try to keep it in perspective. 

mamazee's Avatar mamazee 02:16 PM 10-02-2012
I have a 7-year age gap between mine and I haven't noticed any difference. Not a massive age gap but a bit of one. I live in a small town though. That might help.
nextcommercial's Avatar nextcommercial 04:06 PM 10-02-2012

I think kids have always had a tendency to be mean and nasty.  I think some personalities are more difficult than other personalities.


But, When I was growing up in the 70s, we could be disciplined by other parents and by teachers.  Now, nobody can discipline, and parents don't really want to discipline.  (or make the child feel bad)


Also, in the 70s, tv shows were fairly wholesome.  The inappropriate shows came on after kids went to bed.   Now, the inappropriate shows are on all the time.  Not only do the parents love these shows, we are immune to the harshness of what we are seeing and hearing.  Sarcasm isn't just funny anymore, it's funny, but often hurtful, and we reward those with the acerbic wit by laughing and talking about it long after.


We have sites called "People of Walmart"...which I think is pretty funny...but, I would be crushed if some of those pictures were of me.  (Some people want and deserve it though) 


We have shows like "Here comes Honey Boo Boo", and we talk bad about that little girl.  We don't mind saying hurtful things about her because she can't hear it... but, our kids can.


Parents rarely teach manners anymore.   "If you don't like that, say I don't care for any, thank you".  Now the child just says "I hate that", and the parents think "Well, he hates it... why shouldn't he speak his mind?"  We now tell our kids that they are THE MOST IMPORTANT people in the entire world.  We get angry at adults for speaking to our kids... we get mad if an adult in walmart says "I love your curly hair".  Adults are afraid to even notice a kid anymore, for fear that it will upset Mommy.  (read here on MDC, and you will see how easily offended parents can be)




This summer, I took my daycare kids to the public library.  We were in the toddler book section, when a group of six or seven kids came running in.  They ran around for a few minutes, then started throwing board books across the library (like frisbees)  EVERY single one of their parents was standing in a line just ten feet away.  NOT ONE single parent tried to stop their kids.  Two librarians tried to control them, and it turned chaotic...finally two uniformed police officers were in there yelling and grabbing kids.  Books were everywhere.  


The parents were MAD at the police for physically removing their kids from the toddler section of the library.  They all agreed that "They were just being kids".    They wanted badge numbers, and wanted to file a formal complaint.  But, during the whole book throwing incedent, a toddler was hit in the face with the side of a heavy book.  She was hurt, crying, and had a large welt between her eyes.  The parents of the book throwing kids said "This is how kids act, if you don't want to be around kids, you shouldn't go to a library".  Nobody cared that a toddler was injured...just that their kids were forced to stop.  

treegardner's Avatar treegardner 04:19 PM 10-02-2012

No, I think kids have always been nasty and mean. I can remember plenty of incidences from when I was growing up of kids doing horrible things. I think now, especially with the anti-bullying movement, it's just under a microscope.

pek64's Avatar pek64 05:59 PM 10-02-2012
Nextcommercial, I agree with you about TV viewing, which is why I was very selective about what we watched. I also have the same kinds of concerns about books. I'm so sorry about that library incident! Was the toddler seriously injured?

I guess we were more fortunate when my son was small, although he's 16 now. Wow! I'm glad I'm not a parent of a young child now. What's it going to be like when our children are parents?
serenbat's Avatar serenbat 06:03 AM 10-03-2012
Wow! I'm glad I'm not a parent of a young child now. What's it going to be like when our children are parents?


I "predict" dizzy.gif IF you even come in contact with children you don't know, that in it self will be an exception!


In general (in my area) there are far less children (there use to be more because now there is more organized structured play going on) that even come out to public spaces to play, so I see more planned interaction with those more a like and contact will just become rare. As NEXTCOMMERCIAL stated, I see far less social interaction, less comments on a child since we seem to be going this way, and more you are the MOST important!


I have seen a great decline in the number of children that use libraries already. 

Neera's Avatar Neera 07:39 AM 10-03-2012

Going to sub. We are in a situation with a kid who is/was bullying dd at school and the mother WILL NOT correct her kids. God forbid we tell her child something even by mistake. I just don't get it why people will not correct bad behavior but that's them. We have not yet encountered anyone like the 2nd kid. Thank god.

limabean's Avatar limabean 10:15 AM 10-03-2012
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

What's it going to be like when our children are parents?


When our children are parents, they'll talk about how awful parents and children are "these days," and about how much better it was when they were kids. wink1.gif

Mylie's Avatar Mylie 10:23 AM 10-03-2012

Well I am a very laid back quiet person and I wouldn't hurt anyones feelings to save my soul but I will not let a child be mean to L with me standing there..I say something..I don't do it angrily or nasty like my L had encountered but I do say something..We took a day or so off from the park..Not because of her but me...I needed to refresh..We went again last night because she asked to go..She loves going..She also took her bucket of barbies,fairies,princesses ect...with..Normally we don't do that but I let her..I told her she couldn't get them out until after our walk and we walked right away..We walked and talked for 1/2 hour to 45 minutes..Then we went back to the first park..she wanted her bucket..While I was getting it I reminded her again that not everyone at the park wanted to play and if they said no to just say okay and move on.And if someone is mean to her to look them in the eye and say I don't talk to mean to you and you are NOT allowed to be mean to me and turn around and walk away..We roll played this because it does hurt her feelings so very badly..I went and sat on the bench and she went to a childs table with her bucket..A little girl wandered over and asked to play and L told her she could..The first little girl who was mean to L the other day was also there..She watched for a long time before she wandered over and asked the little girls if she could play..L didn't say anything at first and looked over at me..I just smiled at her giving her courage and the encouragment she needed...It took her a few minutes but she finally said yes you can play..I was so proud of her for modeling kind behavior to that little girl after she had been so mean...I sure hope the little girl isn't mean to L on the playground today at school..I am sure if she was I will hear about it at pickup...


Thanks for sharing your stories and feelings..It helps to see other views and hear others who go through the same...